• GABAergic neurons in the medullary raphé possess network independent chemosensitivity in situ

      Iceman, Kimberly E. (2012)
      The identity and location of central pH/CO2 sensitive chemoreceptors are not fully understood. Serotonin (5-HT) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesizing neurons in the medullary raphé have demonstrated intrinsic chemosensitivity in vitro. This evidence forms the basis for our "push-pull" model of raphé contributions to chemosensitivity. We have previously shown that CO2-stimulated 5-HT neurons occur in the medullary raphé in situ. Here, we test the hypothesis that the medullary raphé contains GABA synthesizing CO2-inhibited neurons that retain their chemosensitivity after pharmacological blockade of major fast synaptic inputs. To assess chemosensitivity, we record extracellular single neuron discharge during normocapnic and hypercapnic conditions within the medullary raphé of the unanesthetized juvenile rat in situ perfused decerebrate brainstem preparation. Network dependence of chemosensitivity is assessed by application of antagonists for AMPA, NMDA, glycine, and GABAa receptors that disrupt fast-synaptic network properties. Juxtacellular labeling and immunohistochemistry establish neurotransmitter phenotypes of recorded neurons. Results support independence of CO2-inhibited GABA neuron chemosensitivity from fast synaptic inputs.
    • Geospatial Validation and Topographic Map Revision of the Castner Glacier Area

      Verbyla, Dave L.; Cain, Grant (2012)
      Mapping in the interior of Alaska has always been a challenge due to the vast and remote aspects of the region. One contemporary method that has been used to map certain areas of the state has been the application of optical satellite data such as the Panchromatic Remote Sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM). PRISM imagery, with the use of JAXA software, can produce a Digital Surface Model (DSM) and Orthorectified Image (Ortho). The use of these two products allows for a large area to be mapped. However, the quality of the DSM and Ortho are inherently affected by the lack of applied ground control points which georeference the image and provide greater accuracy. The objective of this project is to use a Trimble R7 GPS to acquire ground control points (GCPs) around the Castner Glacier area. The ground control points will provide a means to produce an accurate DSM and Ortho from a PRISM image of the chosen study area.
    • Glucose Transporter 4 Expression in White Blood Cells of Young and Old Sled Dogs

      Schnurr, Theresia (2012)
      Obesity has reached alarming levels in the United States Recent statistics show that 1 out of 3 individuals are either obese or overweight! The principle role of the hormone insulin is to mediate the redistribution of the glucose transporter- 4 (Glut4) from an intracellular vesicle pool into plasma membranes of insulin-responsive tissues and thus regulating the uptake of glucose. Insulin resistance is characterized by an inability of cells to respond to insulin upon stimulation with glucose and presents as an important risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Glut4 is the only glucose transporter responsive to insulin and is thought to be found exclusively in muscle an adipose cells. But recently, Maratou et al (2007) demonstrated that there is Glut4 in white blood cells (WBC)collected from human subjects in response to insulin activation. Dogs have been used as a proven biomedical research model for diabetes for over a century since dogs develop insulin dependent and independent forms of diabetes similar to humans. Sled dogs are incredible athletes that provide a homogenous population for studying environmental impacts such as nutrition and exercise on blood parameters. The goal of this study was to 1) develop a protocol to measure Glut4 in white blood cells of sled dogs and 2) compare Glut4 levels in young versus old sled dogs assuming that old sled dogs are at higher risk of diabetes.
    • Growth Response of White Spruce [Picea glauca (Moench) Voss] in Denali National Park under Warming Climate

      Bret-Harte, Syndonia; Okano, Kyoko (2012)
      In subarctic mountains such as Denali National Park and Preserve(DNP), vegetation shifts from alpine tundra to boreal forests caused by recent climate change are a potential threat to plant conservation and indirectly to animal habits and diversity, which could affect the experience of visitors who wish to see wildlife.  The growth rate of Picea glauca (white spruce) could decrease by climate change due to drought stress, which might lead to species elimination.  The shift of P. glauca towards a higher elevation would require its seedlings not only to adapt to new abiotic harsh conditions, but also to compete with other plant species that are already present.
    • Identifying Morphological and Functional Changes in a Caenorhabditis elegans Neuronal Aging Model of Huntington’s Disease

      Parker, Cyrena (2012)
      • Evaluate the effects of aging on neuronal morphology and gentle touch response in a C. elegans model of Huntington's disease • Establish that our RNAi method in our two genetic strains, Huntington’s disease model ID1 and control ID245, is selective and specific in silencing targeted genes in neurons
    • Identifying raphé respiratory chemosensory amplifiers in situ.

      Tallan, Hannah (2012)
      Activity of CO2–stimulated rat medullary raphé RCA interneurons is mediated by intra-network inputs from serotonergic and GABAergic neurons.
    • An Interdisciplinary Sustainability Evaluation of the Skate Fishery in the Gulf of Alaska

      Farrugia, Thomas (2012)
      Skates are in growing demand worldwide, and the 2008 U.S. landings of skates was estimated at 65 million pounds, worth $11 million. However, many Atlantic Ocean skate stocks are collapsing. Alaska has relatively healthy skate stocks and there is increasing economic pressure to develop directed fisheries for them. Presently, the most frequently landed and exported skates in the Gulf of Alaska are the big (Raja binoculata) and longnose skates (R. rhina). These species are long-lived, possess slow growth rates and mature late in life, making them vulnerable to overfishing. A small experimental directed state fishery for big and longnose skates in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska provides a unique opportunity to study the feasibility of a directed skate fishery as a means of increasing the economic resilience of coastal Alaskan communities. This project will take an interdisciplinary approach to assessing the sustainability of the budding skate fishery in Alaska by 1) examining movement patterns of big and longnose skates, 2) developing a spatially-explicit stock assessment and 3) building a bio-economic model of the skate fishery in the Gulf of Alaska.
    • Is there enough information on SIDS in Alaska?

      McAfee, Keegan (2012)
      The rate of SIDS in Alaska is about two times the national average, and even more prevalent among Alaska natives. In this research project I wanted to ask what kind, and how much information is provided to new parents on SIDS in interior Alaska? The purpose of my study was to see if healthcare providers from a wide range of specialties, but all dealing with birth, had provided their patients with the same or differing information on SIDS in Alaska. I went to multiple healthcare providers and interviewed them, asking what kind of information they provided to the new parents. I obtained varying answers from a standardized packet on SIDS, to no information provided for new parents at all. I believe that this huge discrepancy in information, can and does play a role in the incident of SIDS in Alaska. Ultimately I would like to further research the cases of SIDS and see what types of healthcare providers were used for pre/neo-natal care and see if in fact there is a correlation among the types of information provided.
    • Isotopic dietary analysis and molecular sex identification of adults and juveniles from medieval Great Moravia

      Halffman, Carrin M. (2012)
      Like many complex agricultural societies, medieval European society was strongly patriarchal, with men favored in terms of property rights, political status, and household authority. However, it is unclear whether male dominance in medieval society was manifested in unequal access to food resources between the sexes. In this pilot study, we examine the pattern of sex-related differences in diet through biomolecular analyses of skeletal remains from Kostelisko, a suburban area within the early medieval Great Moravian site of Mikulčice. Mikulčice was a prominent center of Great Moravia, an early Slavic state that existed in the 9th and early 10th centuries AD, and was situated on the lower Morava River valley in the south-eastern corner of what is today the Czech Republic . Previous bioarchaeological studies of skeletal material from Mikulčice have revealed activity differences between males and females (Havelková et al., 2010), as well as health differences according to socioeconomic status (Velemínský et al., 2009). Here we present dietary reconstructions based on bone collagen carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses, and we evaluate a new method of molecular sex identification using high resolution melting analysis of ancient DNA.
    • Kern Canyon Fault Quartz Piezometry and Thermometry: How Weak are Rocks in a Deep Fault?

      Tsigonis, Rebekah (2012)
      This project is an investigation of the strength of rocks from 10-25 kilometers depth in the Kern Canyon Fault in the Sierra Nevada. When this fault was active, it behaved similarly to the San Andreas Fault in California and the Denali Fault here in Alaska. Deep sections of this ancient fault were brought to the surface of the Earth through erosion. Using a method known as piezometry, I was able to measure the sizes of deformed quartz grains in rock samples, which inversely relates to the amount of stress that the rocks experienced during faulting. I also used a technique known as titanium-in-quartz thermometry (TitaniQ) to determine the temperature of the rocks during faulting deformation episodes. Via the Electron Microprobe in the Analytical Facility at UAF, I was able to measure the amount of titanium present in the deformed quartz grains which directly correlates to the temperature at which these crystals formed. In combining the calculations for stress and temperature of deformation, the strain rate exhibited on these rocks was determined which is used to better understand how weak or strong rocks are at different depths within fault zones.
    • Lost Wax Method Bronze Casting

      Isaak, Joel (2012)
      Large scale bronze casting is a work intensive process that requires adequately equipped studio space, time, and a set of highly refined skills to complete the eight stages of the process. My goal was to construct a life sized bronze statue of a traditional Athabascan fisherman. I chose to sculpt a classically proportioned Greek style statue, using similar processes and ratios. I looked over photographs that I took in the Vatican museum and several anatomy books. Wendy Croskrey supported my research in large scale bronze casting a project this size. Through experimentation I discovered the importance of using the correct plaster and reinforcing molds properly. The process provided me with many firsts, such as a mold cracking open, plaster not setting, and having to recast a piece. Through hard work and careful consideration I was successful in completing the project.
    • Microsatellite loci among Alaskan rabies hosts: Arctic and red fox

      Renshaw, Ben (2012)
      Little is known about the population dynamics between Arctic and red foxes in Alaska and consequences for rabies ecology. Both species carry different variants of rabies and inhabit different environments. As the global warming trends progress, the Arctic and red fox will have increased habitat overlap due to northward range expansion of the red fox into the historic habitat of the Arctic fox. Hypothesis: global warming trends will significantly influence the disease dynamics between red and Arctic foxes as well as their roles in disease dynamics in the far North. In order to better survey the movement of the variants of rabies among Arctic and red fox, microsatellites will be used to assess population structure of these host species.
    • The Origins of Post-eruption Insect Populations on the Aleutian Island of Kasatochi

      Sikes, Derek S.; Ridling, Sayde (2012)
      This project compares the dispersal and/or survival ability of insects on the recently erupted volcanic Aleutian Island of Kasatochi. The island erupted in 2008, two months after the island had been briefly surveyed for terrestrial arthropods. Having pre-eruption specimens provides biologists with a unique and rare perspective of island ecosystem assembly. We have analyzed the DNA of 47 pre- and post- eruption Scathophaga sp. specimens to determine the origins of post-eruption insect populations. This genetic work is especially important for the Aleutians arthropods because they are among the most understudied in the United States.
    • Phylogenetic Identification of Petroleum-Degrading Bacteria in Alaska Willow Soils

      Glover, Catherine (2012)
      • Certain plant species may promote growth and activity of pollutant- degrading microbes in the rhizosphere. • Naphthalene is an aromatic component of petroleum fuels, which are common soil contaminants in Alaska. • Willows are known to produce and release salicylate, an intermediate in the naphthalene degradation pathway that induces the expression of microbial naphthalene degradation genes. • A previous pot study (McFarlin et al. in prep) tested the ability of Salix alaxensis (Alaskan willow) to rhizo-remediate diesel-contaminated soil. • Willow growth treatments significantly decreased the concentration of diesel range organics in soil and increased the number of cultured diesel-degrading bacteria in comparison to unplanted controls. • The effects of willow on the identity and diversity of diesel-degrading bacteria in this pot study are unknown.
    • Pilot Study expert, guest artist education experiences for music students at the university level.

      Graf, Lydia (2012)
      Many Universities have opportunities to work with guest and visiting artists of every musical genre and instrumentation. The University of Alaska Fairbanks, mainly because of the extreme distance between peer and aspirational universities, does not often host a visiting artist. We wanted to gather data on how UAF music majors, students, and community members and Fairbanks high school students would respond to a visiting artist. Vijay Singh, currently on faculty at Central Washington University, has visited Fairbanks in the past. He has presented at UAF Jazz Fest and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Mr. Singh is also versed in several genres of music from jazz to choral and composition. After a performance by Vijay Singh on Saturday, April 28, we will survey attendees to garner data on how the performance was received. Our hope is that Fairbanks will grow and flourish from visiting artists and such visits will become common at UAF.
    • Post Natal Impact of Maternal Tryptophan Deficiency on Central CO2/PH Chemosensitivity

      Mosher, Bryan P. (2012)
      Cells and mechanisms underlying central chemosensitivity, are poorly understood and can be controversial. Our overarching hypothesis is that brainstem 5-HT and/or GABA neurons contribute to detection and response to changes in pH/CO2. Our experiments are designed to provide insight into respiratory physiology, and pathologies thought to result from chemosensory dysfunction such as the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A deficiency of 5-HT resulting from maternal dietary restriction could enhance vulnerability to SIDS. It was recently shown that rat pups born to dams fed a tryptophan deficient diet have a reduced number of central 5-HT neurons and reduced ventilatory sensitivity to CO2 (Nattie et al. 2011). Unknown are the relative contributions of central vs peripheral chemoreceptors to this observation, or the residual contributions of 5-HT in the face of this deficiency. In the present study we are extending this initial description using a perfused in situ brainstem model to determine the degree of central chemosensory deficit imparted by maternal tryptophan restriction. We also repeat these studies with pharmacological blockade of a population of 5-HT receptors to illustrate remaining 5-HT and non-5-HT contributions to chemosensitivity. This work reveals important interactions between nutrition and ventilatory control that may aid in the understanding of SIDS.
    • Rabies on the Last Frontier: A Phylogeographical Look at Red (Vulpus vulpus) and Arctic (Vulpus lagopus) Fox with Respect to Mitochondrial DNA and the Spatial Diffusion of Rabies

      Clement, Christopher J. (2012)
      Vulpus vulpus and Vulpus lagopus are terrestrial animals that live in Alaska. They are also common carriers of the rabies virus. It has been determined that there are three different clades of rabies in Alaska being vectored by these two species of fox, but it is not clear why there are no endemic rabies in the Interior. We are interested in the migration patterns of Vulpus vulpus and Vulpus lagopus, the spread and maintenance of the rabies virus as a function of climate warming. We hypothesize that there is some element, whether biological or geographical, that restricts the virus from spreading into the interior and maintaining itself as much as it does in the coastal regions of Alaska. This research provides a model for determining how the virus spreads under retreating Arctic conditions, as the globe warms.
    • Remote Sensing Risk Assessment of Valdez Glacier Lake

      Soederstroem, Erik (2012)
      Can remote sensing techniques be used to determine the probability of an outburst from the Valdez Glacier Lake, and to detect downstream areas affected by a possible glacier lake outburst flood?